Gardaí found nearly €100,000 in cash in woman’s home during search

Gary Ibbotson 02 Dec 2021

By Brion Hoban

A woman was found to be in possession of nearly €100,000 which was the proceeds of criminal conduct when gardaí searched her home, a court has heard.

When gardaí asked Lorna Palmer (35) about two envelopes containing around €700 and €2,000, each found in a money box at her Dublin home, she told them she did not know why people were posting money through the door.

Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard that drug related offences were in progress at the time of the seizure at her then home and and while she knew the money was the proceeds of criminal conduct, gardaí believe she was not involved in the underlying criminality.

The court heard that Palmer’s partner was in custody at the time of the seizure, having being convicted of an offence of possession of drugs for sale or supply.

Palmer of The Crescent, Millbrook Lawn, Tallaght, pleaded guilty to possession of the proceeds of criminal conduct at her address on April 21, 2017.

She has no previous convictions.

Sergeant Michelle McGuinness told Simon Matthews BL, prosecuting, that gardaí were in receipt of information regarding activity at the address and obtained a search warrant.

Sgt McGuinness said that on the date in April 2017, gardaí searched the house and found large quantities of cash in two safes and in envelopes inside a money box.

The total amount of cash found amounted to €99,730.

When questioned by gardaí, Palmer said she did not know how much money there was and she did not know who owns it.

She said she did not know why people were posting money through the door.

CCTV footage obtained by gardaí showed drug related offences in progress at the address and amounts of money being delivered to the house.

Palmer’s partner was in custody for a drugs offence at the time of the search.

Sgt McGuinness agreed with Giollaíosa Ó Lideadha SC, defending, that his client was “highly unlikely” to engage in criminal activity in the future.

She agreed his client cares for her sister and has a child with special needs.

The sergeant agreed with counsel that his client’s partner has been in custody for many years. She agreed that Palmer knew the money was the proceeds of criminal conduct, but was “turning a blind eye” to what was going on and was not involved in the criminal activity.

She agreed with counsel that the brother of his client’s partner was a tenant at the address for a period of time and that he was visible on CCTV footage regarding “particular incidents”.

Mr Ó Lideadha said his client has written a letter to the court in which she asks for forgiveness. He said that in the letter his client expresses anger and upset at how her partner has failed her, but says she has done the same and failed her children too.

Counsel said his client has known throughout the process that she is at risk of a prison sentence and this has been a massive stress on her.

He said there was no suggestion his client had attempted to conceal or hide matters from gardaí.

He said the prosecution does not make the case that his client’s offending went beyond the matter she is charged with in this case.

Judge Melanie Greally said Palmer has engaged in what could best be described as “extremely misguided or misjudged behaviour” or worse.

She said she realistically needs to make arrangements for her children in the event of a custodial sentence as it is still “a very likely outcome”.

Judge Greally ordered a report from the Probation Service and adjourned the matter for finalisation to March 29, 2022.

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